Let’s go back in time a bit, shall we?
I was born December 17, 1987, in Freehold, New Jersey … just kidding. Not that far back. No, I want to rewind just two months.
Two months ago, in late June, I was spending my days lying on an idyllic beach in Aruba with my family. I woke up, had my coffee, wandered down to the sand with a good book, and wiled away the hours doing absolutely nothing. I’d been waiting for this respite from the daily bullshit for a long time—things at work were becoming increasingly unpleasant and I’d been waiting and hoping (barely breathing, to be honest) to receive news regarding a big-time job interview. So this break beneath the palm trees should’ve been everything I needed and more.
Instead, I found myself unable to ignore a nearly insurmountable level of stress and I say that as someone who happens to handle stress very well. When we flew home, I discovered that I’d inadvertently lost 8 lbs. on that island. (Some of which was probably from sweating so much, but still.)
I’d found out I was about to get fired. And I still hadn’t heard anything back from the job interview. It felt like my life was falling apart and there was nothing I could do but watch. Since this blog is just beginning, most of the readers here will know the details of that sordid story. I made a decision and did what I could to get the cards to fall in my favor. Clearly it worked or I wouldn’t be writing this now and there’s no point in ranting about it all over again. (But stay tuned for a future post about how to turn a potential termination into a swift resignation.)
Skip ahead one month to late July. One month ago today, to be exact, when I was introduced to my next chapter, having slapped the book shut on the last one (and set said book on fire).
Six years (six!) post-grad and finally living in my own apartment. I didn’t just move out, I moved out of the damn state. Close enough for visits, but just far enough to prevent surprise visits. 😉 I landed in a massive nonprofit. A national magazine? No, but a national organization with global reach—and they do have magazines. In fact, I’ve already written for one of them. Writing about entertainment? No, writing about animal welfare. Living in New York? Living outside of D.C. Life’s funny. You don’t always get what you want, but sometimes what you want isn’t what you need.
My first few days at The HSUS are already a blur. A far cry from my prior one-room office which housed a staff of five (seriously—five), I’m now in a labyrinth of cubicles containing 200+ busy worker bees. I was meeting people left and right desperately trying to match up names and faces. I kept mainly to the outer hallways, because to venture into the maze surely meant having to poke your face into someone’s cube to ask, “Which way to the HR conference room?” By mid-week, I had a bit of a pattern going to get me from the main entrance to my desk: Through the lobby, down the stairs, right, right through the mini-kitchen (there’s three), hang another right at Jenna Dewan-Tatum, left at the corner bathroom, all the way to the end, left again, aaaaand here. Then I got my security pass and now I get to come in a side entrance directly into my department. (Yeah. There’s departments. Yaaaass, large companies!)
It still feels as though I could wake up at any moment, open my eyes, and find myself back in my bedroom at my parents’ house, the one I lived in when I first decided to become a journalist. In fact, in the weeks leading up to the big move, I did wake up and had one of those terrifying moments where you briefly forget, then re-remember something important. “I’m moving out?!” A frantic question, a brain trying to shake off just enough sleep to confirm. “I’m moving out.” And the eyes drift closed, the fuzzy outline of a mountain of boxes going dark again.
It took me so long to get here.
I unpacked slowly, over the course of that entire first week, wanting to savor the feeling of truly making this place mine. I waited forever to have a place to call mine; every picture frame placement and décor choice feels monumental. And at the same time … it feels sort of temporary. A hotel suite that just happens to have all my stuff in it. It’s an odd combination, but I can’t wait for the day when the two meet in the middle and it simply feels like home.
Amidst all this tumultuous life change, I realized I finally have the voice I needed to write this blog. I am not now, nor will I ever be, the only journalist to consider themselves jaded. The industry just does it to you, even if you found success easier and faster than the rest. Mass media is a mixed-up mess these days, trying to reinvent itself over and over again. But then, so are those of us who work in it.
And so, this is has been a long-winded way—and if you know me, you know there isn’t any other way—of introducing both myself and this blog. I am The Jaded Journo and I will be writing
daily weekly often about my experiences both in my new position and all the old ones (and there are a lot). Learn more about what to expect here.
This idea has always been cooking in the back of my head; I just wasn’t ready for it.
I’m ready now.